A recent study in the medical journal Lancet suggests that the use of acetaminophen for acute low back pain does not decrease recovery time. The study participants were divided into various groups: a regular dose group, an as needed group, and a placebo group. Median recovery time for all three groups were nearly identical.
The researchers conclude that regular dosing or as needed dosing of acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not effect recovery time compared with placebo, and that universal endorsement of the drug should be questioned. 1
Conversely, there is evidence to support the use of physical therapy including manual therapy and specific exercise to treat acute low back pain. 2,3.
1. Williams CM, Maher CG, Latimer J,et al. Efficacy of paracetamol for low back pain: double-blind,randomized control trial. The Lancet.24 July 2014.
2. Hides j, Jull G, Richardson C. Long term effects of specific stabilizing exercises for first episode low back pain. Spine. 2001;26(11)243-248
3. Flynn T, Fritz J, Whitman J. A clinical prediction rule for classifying patients with low back pain who demonstrate short term improvement with spinal manipulation. Spine. 2002;27(24)2835-2843.
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